Jazzy Vegetarian Classics. Cookbook Review and Giveaway. Plus Oil-Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. Vedged Out 12 Days of Christmas.

DSC_0003Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, pg. 226

Are you on Linked In? Laura Theodore is one of the many great connections I’ve made on the Linked In network this year. She asked me if I would be willing to review her cookbook, Jazzy Vegetarian Classics. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. You can probably tell that I love reviewing cookbooks, and I’d heard so many good things about her cookbook!


There are so many lovely things about this cookbook. First off, it’s a hardcover, which is a rarity for cookbooks these days. There are tons of full color photographs, which I appreciate since it helps you visualize the food you’ll be making. Another thing I adore about this book is that nearly every recipe uses common ingredients that can be found in almost any grocery store. There are only a few recipes that you’ll need to make a trip to the health food store to get any special ingredients. At the beginning of the book, Laura helps you with menu planning by pairing together which recipes (and the Jazz music to go with it) will go well together for whatever occasion, from casual to having guests for dinner.

Oh, and last but not least, even though the book is titled “Jazzy Vegetarian Classics,” all the recipes in the book are 100% vegan. (as you’ll see in the subtitle below, Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites).

DSC_0001Quick Tomato Salad, pg. 123

DSC_0011Polenta Pizza, pg. 158

Most of the recipes in this book are oil-free and there are many that are gluten-free. Only unrefined sweeteners and whole grains are used throughout, making this book every bit as healthy as it is delicious.

DSC_0009Raspberry Tofu Smoothie, pg. 84. It’s incredibly healthy, but almost tastes like you’re eating ice cream for breakfast.


Now let’s get back to these whole-grain, oil-free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. My kids didn’t even notice the oil was missing. They just gobbled them up.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

*recipe used with permission

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour (I’m sure gluten-free flour could be subbed here)
  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (grain sweetened variety works well)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh apple puree (see note*)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons nondairy milk.

*Chef’s Note: to make the apple puree, peel and core 3 very large or 4 medium apples. Rough chop the apples. Put the apples in a blender or a food processor until the consistency of smooth applesauce is achieved. Be careful not to liquify!


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.

Put the flour, maple sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and stir with a dry whisk to combine. Add the pecans and the vegan chocolate chips, and stir with the whisk to combine. Stir in the apple puree, vanilla extract and nondairy milk and mix just until incorporated. If the dough seems overly wet, stir in a bit more flour, a tablespoon at a time. Alternatively, if the dough seems overly dry, stir in a bit more nondairy milk, a tablespoon at a time.

For each cookie, drop about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly using the back of a flat spatula.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack. Cool for about 10 minutes. Stored in and airtight container in the refrigerator, the cookies will keep for about 2 days.



Buy the Hardcover copy of the book on Amazon here or get the Kindle edition here.

Or for a chance to win this amazing Giveaway, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA only! You must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Friday December 20th!  I will notify the winner by email on Monday the 23rd of December. GO!!

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Day 1: Free Vegan Lifestyle MagazineDay 2: Free Case of Butler Soy CurlsDay 3: Alternative Outfitters Vegan Boutique $25 Gift Card and Free Messenger BagDay 4: Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder or Product of Choice GiveawayDay 5: Tropical Traditions 1 Gallon Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil Giveaway. Day 6: Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats, Allergy Free & Vegan Recipes. Cookbook Giveaway. Day 7: Extraordinary Vegan Cookbook Giveaway. Day 8: Emaline Delapaix, Music Download Giveaway.


Extraordinary Vegan. Cookbook Giveaway, Chocolate Raspberry Tart Recipe and Review. Vedged Out 12 Days of Christmas

DSC_0016Chocolate Raspberry Tart, pg. 138 (with cherries instead of raspberries)

So, this is one of the cookbooks where I love the back story behind it as much as I do the cookbook. Private Chef, Alan Roettinger had done a previous book for Book Publishing Company. At the time, he wasn’t vegan, or even a vegetarian for that matter. But he wrote this vegetarian cookbook called “Omega 3 Cuisine.” It had good success, so Book Publishing Company asked him to write a second book, a vegan one this time. “Speed Vegan

DSC_0003-001High-Powered Green Juice, pg. 45 and Tarahumara Running Food, pg. 22

Somewhere along the line Alan mentioned in his writing of this book that the recipes were kind of “accidentally vegan” but were still good. [I’m paraphrasing here]. Book Publishing Company, a company that only publishes vegan and vegetarian cookbooks took issue with this and explained to Mr. Roettinger that their readers would too. They wanted him to understand that vegans and vegetarians think food without cruelty is delicious in its own right, and not that it’s some sort of mediocre substitute for an animal product based meal.

DSC_0006-001Three Sisters Soup, pg. 66

Around that period in time Alan went to the Dr. for his yearly physical. He had high blood pressure. His cholesterol was through the roof and he was tired all the time and overweight. His Dr. suggested that Alan should go on statin medications. Alan replied with something to this effect [paraphrasing again] “Naw, I’m going to go vegan.” I’ll check back with you in a few months and we can look at my results.”

DSC_0008-001Ratatouille, pg. 116

As you can probably guess, Alan never did need those statin medications. He dropped his extra weight, as well as his cholesterol and the blood pressure. He’s 100% vegan now and he’s never looked back. Today he’s creating Extraordinary Vegan meals where plants are the star of the show and loving it.

He served this beautiful tart at his birthday dinner the first year he was vegan. His guests were wondering how he could make a delicious birthday cake without eggs, cream or butter. I’m pretty sure this showed them that those things are completely unneccessary.


Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Almond Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground or chopped raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin coconut oil

Chocolate Filling:

  • 4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons framboise eau de vie or raspberry liqueur

Topping and Glaze:

  • 2 pints fresh raspberries (I used cherries)
  • 3/4 cup fruit-juice-sweetened raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the crust, combine the almonds, sugar and oil in a medium bowl and work with your fingers to form a thick, crumbly paste. Press into and 8-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Use a one-cup measuring cup or similar small container to press and form an even inside edge. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. The crust will be puffy and slightly misshapen. Press the crust gently back into shape with the measuring cup. Return to the oven and bake for 7 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the chocolate filling, put the chocolate into a blender. Put the coconut milk into a small sauce pan over medium heat. As soon as it begins to bubble around the edge, remove from the heat. Count 10 seconds and then pour over the chocolate in the blender. Add the liqueur and process until very smooth.

Pour half of the chocolate mixture into the cooled crust. It should come about halfway up the inner side of the shell. Spread it out evenly, taking care not to get any on the rim.

Starting from the rim of the tart, arrange half of the raspberries in tight concentric circles over the filling. pushing the berries down slightly so they touch the bottom. End with one raspberry in the center. Pour the remaining chocolate mixture over them, filling in spaces between the raspberry tops and covering them completely. Take car not to drip any filling on the rim. Layer the remaining raspberries on top of the chocolate. again in concentric circles, but don’t press them down. Refrigerate the tart until the filling is firm, 2-4 hours.

To make the glaze, put the jam in a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it melts. It should be fairly thick, but runny enough to apply with a pastry brush. Pour through a strainer to remove any raspberry seeds, pressing down to extract as much liquid as possible. Using a pastry brush, very gently brush the melted jam over the raspberries, allowing a little of the excess to drip down between them and cover the filling underneath. When the entire surface of the raspberries is coated, set the tart aside for at least 10 minutes to let the glaze congeal.

To serve, hold the tart pan rim with one hand and push up gently on the bottom with the other hand to release the tart. Set the rim portion aside. Slip a knife very carefully between the tart shell and the bottom of the mold. work the knife gently around until the tart comes away from the mold. Set the tart down on a cutting board and cut it with a hot, dry knife. bracing the rim with one finger on either side of the knife to keep the tart shell intact. Slide the knife under the cut portion and gently lift it out. Put the slice on a dessert plate. Repeat as needed. Serve at once.


Buy the paperback copy of the book on Amazon here or get the Kindle edition for just $9.99 here!

Or for a chance to win this amazing Giveaway, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA only! You must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Friday December 20th!  I will notify the winner by email on Monday the 23rd of December. GO!!

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Day 1: Free Vegan Lifestyle MagazineDay 2: Free Case of Butler Soy CurlsDay 3: Alternative Outfitters Vegan Boutique $25 Gift Card and Free Messenger BagDay 4: Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder or Product of Choice GiveawayDay 5: Tropical Traditions 1 Gallon Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil Giveaway. Day 6: Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats, Allergy Free & Vegan Recipes. Cookbook Giveaway.

Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats. Allergy-Free and Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery. Plus, Sunflower Buttercup Brownies. Vedged Out 12 Days of Christmas

DSC_0004Sunflower Buttercup Brownies, pg. 49

I love reviewing cookbooks and this book is incredible for those who are gluten-free or have food allergies. Debbie Adler, the author of this cookbook was all ready running a successful California bakery, Sweet Debbie’s when she discovered that her young son had many life-threatening food allergies. She revamped her menu to make her bakery a safe haven for anyone with food allergies. It made her business boom! Who wouldn’t want these treats? These recipes contain no soy, gluten, eggs, dairy, refined sugars, soy or nuts. Yet they still taste incredibly delicious!


I have multiple friends who suffer from serious food allergies or who have children who do. While my family isn’t affected by these issues (so far, knock on wood) My own children, just being vegan, all ready have issues regarding food when they attend parties, sporting events, school functions and more. I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be to eat ANYWHERE when major food allergies are involved.

DSC_0006Gourmet Dark Chocolate Mesquite Brownies, pg. 39

I’ve become resourceful. We bring our own food to most events and some to share so others can taste how good vegan food is. This book is excellent for those who need to provide their own treats for themselves and their children, or for anyone who wants to have allergy free food for their guests.


Sunflower Buttercup Brownies

“Reprinted from SWEET DEBBIE’S ORGANIC TREATS by Debbie Adler. Published by Harlequin. Copyright Debbie Adler 2013.”

Must Have:

  • 24 mini paper baking cups
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (Debbie’s special blend is on page 13)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sodium-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup coconut nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/8 teaspoon stevia powder
  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter (Debbie’s sunflower butter recipe is on page 11)
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (Debbie’s allergy free chocolate chip recipe on page 12)

Must do: 

1- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 24-cup mini muffin tin with mini paper baking cups.

2- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, guar gum and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle.

3- Add the grapeseed oil, applesauce, coconut nectar, vanilla and stevia and stir to combine. Next add the sunflower seed butter and stir to combine. Fold in 3/4 of the chocolate chips.

4- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling the cups to the top and each with the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

5- Bake the buttercups for 18-20 minutes or until they are a light golden brown and bounce back slightly to the touch.

6- Transfer the muffin tin form the oven to a wire rack and let sit for about 15 minutes before removing the buttercups to cool completely.

Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

sweet-debbies-organic-treats-cookbookBuy the paperback copy of the book on Amazon here or get the Kindle edition for just $9.99 here!

Or for a chance to win this amazing Giveaway, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA only! You must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Friday December 20th!  I will notify the winner by email on Monday the 23rd of December. GO!!

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Day 1: Free Vegan Lifestyle MagazineDay 2: Free Case of Butler Soy CurlsDay 3: Alternative Outfitters Vegan Boutique $25 Gift Card and Free Messenger Bag. Day 4: Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder or Product of Choice Giveaway. Day 5: Tropical Traditions 1 Gallon Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil Giveaway.

Vegan Richa’s Vegan Diwali Sweets E-Book. Nan Khatai Shortbread Recipe and Worldwide Giveaway!

You guys all ready know how much I love Richa, so when she asked me to help promote her E-book, of course I was thrilled to help. Enter to win the giveaway below, or head on over to Richa’s site to get the e-book yourself for a mere $5 bucks.Cover
Diwali, the festival of lights is one of the big festivals celebrated in India and is coming up on November 3. The Sweets and Desserts served for the festival are quite heavily dependent on dairy. Like any major festival or holiday in any country, we all get obsessed with vegan-izing some family favorites. With very few Vegan Indian commercial options in India and almost none in the United states, I try to vegan-ize some of my favorites around the Indian festivals that people can make at home. This year I have a decent collection that I could make into an E-book.
The names of the sweets and flavors might be new to some, but they are delicious and addictive. I have tried to keep the sweets close to traditional wherever possible, that means a few do have similar oil content as you would find in a ghee laden sweet. A good number of the recipes though are low-fat with no or little refined oil and some also use natural sugars like maple syrup. Gluten-free options are mentioned wherever possible.
nan-khatai 015-009

Nan Khatai Shortbread Recipe 

Ingredients: Makes 15-16
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1 cardamom pod seeds or 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoons organic canola oil
  • 1/4 cup earth balance butter or vegan margarine or melted coconut oil or melted cocoa butter
  • 2 teaspoons non dairy yogurt or cashew cream or coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup fine semolina/sooji
  • 1 teaspoon chickpea flour/besan (optional)
  • 2/3 cup unbleached organic white flour
  • 2 Tablespoons ground pistachios or cashews
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Method: Grind the sugar with the cardamom, nutmeg and salt into a fine powder. Add the oils, yogurt  to the sugar and whisk to make a well combined mixture. Whisk the semolina, baking soda & powder, flour, ground pistachio and chickpea flour together then add to sugar mixture. Knead to form a dough. Spray just a little water or non dairy milk to help make the dough only if it is too crumbly.Refrigerate the dough for an hour. Shape the dough into balls. Press almond slivers or pistachio slivers on top if desired. Bake in pre-heated 350 degrees F/180 degrees Celsius for 13-14 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for another 3-4 minutes before removing from the sheet. Cool and store in airtight container for a few weeks.

Visit Richa at her site Vegan Richa to see many more of her amazing creations here .

Richa Collage

Buy “Vegan Diwali Sweets E-Book” for $5.00 here.

For a chance to win a copy of this amazing E-book, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants worldwide! You must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until the Tuesday 5th of November to enter!  I will notify the winner by email on Wednesday the 6th of November. GO!!

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Bake and Destroy. THE RADICAL HALLOWEEN EDITION. Review, Revenge Cookie Recipe and Giveaway.

When I was a kid, my favorite holiday by far was Halloween. My dad would bust out the bbq and fire up hot dogs for the whole dang neighborhood. Everyone came, warming up their cold little hands for a tasty meal amongst the sea of noxious candy. Of course it was also awesome that one of our neighbors brewed rootbeer in a giant cauldron and served it up while dressed as a cackling witch. We were lucky kids in that corner of Green Valley.

Revenge Cookies

One Halloween, I had the flu and couldn’t go trick-or-treating. I swear I thought it was a fate worse than death. I sobbed (and puked) on the couch in our front room as I watched out the front window and saw what seemed like hundreds of gleeful kids come eat hot dogs and enjoy the festivities.

I’ve always wanted to follow in the family tradition and grill up hot dogs too, but since I’m vegan now, and you can’t really give kids anything that isn’t store bought and pre-wrapped anymore without the parents having a heart attack, we do mini bags of potato chips, a savory salute to my childhood days.

Anyway, when I got a review copy of Bake and Destroy, it was like the perfect Halloween present had come early. I dare you to read through this book and not be thoroughly amused by the dark and silly humor whilst developing a sweet girl crush on bad-a** Natalie Slater.

Natalie Slater

First up, I made the Cannibal Corpse Crock-Pot, which is made with Jackfruit, in an awesome BBQ sauce that will blow your mind. I also put it all over a deep dish pizza, but we ate it before I could get non-Iphone photos of it. Oh, the Vegan Mayo in the book that’s on this sandwich is so delicious and diabolically simple that it’s worth the purchase of the book alone: you’ll have no more guilt over eating oil-laden store bought vegan mayo, but you’ll also stop pretending that blocks of tofu seasoned with lemon juice and pureed, or the non-fat vegan mayo versions taste anything like real mayo. Stop fooling yourself kids. Her special sauce tastes even better than the real deal without clogging your arteries or leaving your taste-buds fully disappointed.

Cannibal Corpse Crock Pot
As for the Samoa Joe Cupcakes, well, I took these bad boys to a Halloween party. They won the competition for Best Dessert Overall. Yes, they were that good. People are still talking about them… What’s not to love about a luscious cupcake filled with caramel sauce and topped with salted caramel-coconut butter-cream and chocolate drizzle? Yeah, vegan desserts rock.

Samoa Joe Cupcakes

Samoa Joe 2

Even more awesome, was that my brother Abe (vegan siblings rock) was staying at my house for several days for a printmaking show and conference while I was testing recipes from the book. He fully worshipped them all. We had this totally legit Non-Cop-Out Tofu Scramble on his last morning. Since Abe mostly eats beans and rice, he was on the edge of pure vegan food bliss at every meal.

Tofu Scramble

These cute cupcake mummies made out of Natalie’s ridiculously simple Vanilla Cake Mix also went to the Halloween party. I got a second award for best themed dessert. Ah yeah.

Vanilla Cake Mix

Funnily enough though, the recipe I tested that made me the most nostalgic, was the Pretzel Dogs of the Dead. They were insanely delicious. You know I’ll be baking these up again on Halloween with a pot of chili and another batch of those Samoa Joe Cupcakes, even if I can’t serve them to the neighbor kids. (p.s. these really are vegan hot dogs, no animals were harmed in the making of this post). I made some of Natalie’s No-Honey Mustard to dip these in, but ended up using it as a delicious salad dressing instead after I forgot all about the dip.

Pretzel Dogs of The Dead

Now, for the awesome bit. I made these Cheryl’s Sweet Revenge Cookies (not in the book and based on the movie, The Evil Dead double bonus here) and there were so many, that I took a big part of the batch to a neighbor so I wouldn’t eat them all. Somehow during our discussion I found out that my neighbors know Natalie Slater and her mom. Some things are just meant to be.

Revenge Cookies 2

Cheryl’s Revenge Cookies

Recipe used with permission

Somer’s Note: I couldn’t help myself and added a half cup of mini-chocolate chips to this recipe to make them the ultimate “Everything Cookie.” They were amazing!


  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used half organic all purpose and half whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds + 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts, your choice (I used a combination of sunflower seeds, whole almonds, cashew pieces, peanuts and hempseeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit, your choice (I used cranberries, raisins and goji berries)
  • 3/4 cup sweetened, shredded coconut or whole rolled oats (I went with the coconut, but used unsweetened since that’s what I had on hand)

Method: Preheat your oven to 350º and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Whisk the dry ingredients into a small bowl. With an electric mixer, beat the margarine until smooth and fluffy. Add sugars and beat until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk the ground flaxseed and water together until thick and gooey. Add this to the sugar mixture and beat until combined. Mix in vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Stir in the nuts and fruit. Drop batter (2 tablespoons = one cookie) onto the  lined baking sheet, about 2″ apart. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes about 2 dozen vengeful, murderous cookies (unless you are Somer and you make smaller cookies and end up with 3-4 dozen).

Cover Photo

Buy “Bake and Destroy” Good Food for Bad Vegans in paperback format on Amazon here or get the Kindle version for $9.99 here.

Visit Natalie Slater at her site Bake and Destroy here.

For a chance to win a copy of this amazing cookbook, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA onlyYou must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Halloween on the 31st of October to enter!  I will notify the winner by email on Friday the 1st of November. GO!!

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A Fork and Beans Halloween Special! Monster Rice Cereal Treats Recipe and Worldwide E-Book Giveaway!

halloween cover

I’ve had a girl crush on Cara ever since I started stalking her at her site, Fork and Beans. For those of you that know Cara, she is infinitely creative, has a crazy sweet tooth, and makes everything that would seem impossible to make vegan, gluten-free, egg-free and dairy free into absolute perfection. I shamelessly use her Gluten-Free flour blend in nearly every gluten free recipe I make that requires a flour replacement. It’s so good that when I catered my brother’s art show, with more than 200 people in attendance, that no one could believe the baked goods were gluten-free (seriously).

Cara has recently taken the leap into full time blogger, meaning, she quit her day job to make all her culinary dreams at Fork and Beans come true. Radical! She offered me a chance to give one of my readers a copy of her very first E-Book, the very timely A Fork and Beans Halloween Special. If you know Cara at all, you know her love for all things Halloween borders on psycho obsessive (in the most endearing way)! Here’s a sneak peek at what’s inside:


These recipes would all be fantastic for your next Halloween shin-dig! All of the recipes are vegan, egg-free, dairy-free and gluten-free, most of the recipes are also nut-free/soy-free. So, you’ll be happy to know you can serve it all to all your guests without worrying about everyone’s individual allergies/food needs! Today I’ll be sharing (with Cara’s permission) her Monster Rice Cereal Treats Recipe.

monsterkrispies (2)

Monster Rice Cereal Treats


  • 4 cups Dandies vegan marshmallows
  • 6 cups gluten-free rice cereal
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • Natural green food coloring
  • Edible candy eyes
  • Gauze
  • Skull cookie cutter

In large saucepan melt the vegan butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

Add a few green food coloring drops into the mixture and stir until evenly colored.

Add cereal and stir until well combined.

Using wax paper, evenly press mixture into a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Allow to cool.

Cut out skull shapes with the cookie cutter.

Wrap each head with gauze and place the edible eyes on by either pressing firmly in the treats or “glue” with royal icing.

Now for the best bit. This E-Book is for sale on Cara’s site for a mere $7. While I’m doing a giveaway here, I know that most of you probably have that much in change under your couch cushions, so support Cara, buy this book and throw the best Halloween Party ever!

Oh and the book includes a special bonus! 10 of Cara’s Homemade Gluten, Egg, and Dairy-Free Candy Bars!candy bars

For a chance to win a copy of this amazing cookbook, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants WORLDWIDEYou must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Monday the 7th of October to enter!  I will notify the winner by email on Wednesday the 10th of October. GO!!

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Fit Quickies 5-Minute Targeted Body-Shaping Workouts by Lani Muelrath. Review and Giveaway!

cover photo

In a bit of an exercise rut? Can’t find the time to fit it all in? Well, you and me both!

When Lani Muelrath sent me her book, Fit Quickies 5-Minute Targeted Body-Shaping Workouts to review on my site, her timing was perfect! The only exercises I have been doing as of late is some light (but awesome) yoga. Still, I haven’t been strength training because, well, I find it hard to fit it all in at the moment with my crazy schedule. So this gem of a book came just at the right moment. It offers quick and effective workouts that anyone can fit in to build muscle, define and tone and shrink the problem areas. She shows you the correct posture, the right lifting methods and more to optimize your results without spending hours in the gym! In fact all of the exercises can be done in the privacy of your own home.

“Fit Quickies is one exercise book that understands that you don’t have to exercise like a maniac once you get the food right. Highly recommended.” ~ John Robbins

before&afterLani knows just what she’s talking about. She’s been through her own personal 50 pound weight loss journey and has maintained the loss for more than a decade. She figured out that a McDougall like plant based eating plan solved her yo-yo diet scenario and enabled her to achieve the body she desired when she added the right amount of exercise.

LaniDoesn’t she look amazing?!?

More about award winning Lani Muelrath: M.A., CGFI, CPBN, FNS – The Plant-Based Fitness Expert – specializes in helping people who struggle with health, weight and energy levels transform their bodies – and their lives – without going hungry or grueling, excessive exercise. She is also a presenter and celebrity coach for the 21-Day PCRM Vegan Kickstart and VegRun Programs and is the Fitness Adviser for the Dr. John McDougall Health and Medical Center Discussion Boards. She presents regularly for the Complete Health Improvement Project (CHIP). In addition, she is the Health and fitness expert for Vegan Mainstream and Plant-Based Fitness and Healthy Living Examiner at for

Lani has been a Guest Lecturer in Kinesiology at San Francisco State University and is an Associate Professor in Kinesiology at Butte College. She has a Master’s degree and several teaching credentials in Physical Education, and holds multiple fitness certifications including Fitness Instructor from the American Council on Exercise, Yoga, and Pilates-based instruction from the PhysicalMind Institute.

For a preview of her book, watch the video below:

Buy Fit Quickies on Amazon here, or get a signed copy from Lani here.

For a chance to win a copy of this amazing book, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA and Canada onlyYou must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Monday the 23rd of September to enter!  I will notify the winner by email on Wednesday the 25th of September. GO!!

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Vedged Out Turns One, Gets a Sweet Book Deal and More Awesomeness!

Howdy beloved readers! It’s Vedged Out’s One Year Blogiversary today and I’m taking you on a tour through the highlights and lowlights of the year:

chocolate layer cakeInsane Chocolate Layer Cake

It’s been an amazing year! Some highlights included Forks Over Knives featuring my health transformation testimonial and featuring me on their health page.


Then we’ve had two very. awesome. Virtual Vegan Potlucks.  

macadamia nut brie en crouteSpooky Macadamia Nut Brie En Croute 

um, I’m still dreaming about that one

vegan-blt-slidersMini Jackfruit and Kimchi BLT Slider Bites 

Two words. Jackfruit. Bacon.

The top viewed post on my site this year:pizzaIndividual Vegan Margherita Pizzas with Homemade Fresh Moxarella

people go crazy when homemade vegan cheese is tastier, easier, healthier and cheaper than running to your local Whole Foods for another bag of Daiya.

The least viewed post on my site this year:maple lima beansBaked Maple Dijon Baby Lima Beans

Yeah, can’t blame my readers, doesn’t look like the most appetizing dish, does it? I swear they were good!

The cookie bars that took over Pinterest by storm:cookie barHealthied Up Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

who doesn’t love an easy to put together ooey gooey dessert?

This ALL VEGAN Thanksgiving Menu shared with beloved friends and family, including Annie at An Unrefined Veganvegan thanksgiving

Then we had that low point, with that injury (currently still injured, I’ll have another healing series coming up soon).goodbye-runningGoodbye Running, I still miss you like crazy.

But when one door closes another one opens! And now I’ve also got some awesome news, I’ve signed a book contract with Vegan Heritage Press! I couldn’t be more proud to be working with such an amazing and compassionate publishing house. You’ll have to wait for all the juicy details, but it’s official. I’m an author!

vegan heritage press

The Vegan Heritage Press family all ready includes some Vegan Superstars: the amazing and talented raw vegan chef Amber Shea Crawley, prolific vegan cookbook author and goddess Robin Robertson, recipe developer extraordinaire Bryanna Clark Grogan, vegan baking fool Tamasin Noyes, national recipe competition winner Betsy DiJulio and several new faces that I can’t wait to become acquainted with!


Oh, and I’ve all ready been a recipe contributor for Sunwarrior for some time, but now I’m joining their expert ambassador team as well! Yeah, just gotta submit that Bio. They’ve truly got the best vegan vitamins and supplements on the planet. Pure love.

Thanks for all the love and support along the way. Can’t wait to see what this next year brings!

good-clean-foodAmanda, Somer (holding Amanda’s juicy baby), Carolyn and Erika

If you want to start at the very beginning, see my very first post on Vedged Out here: 20 Reasons Why Going Vegan Sucks.

Love, Somer

Kitchen Divided by Ellen Jaffe Jones. Review, 100% Guilt Free Cake Recipe and Giveaway.

Garden Pizza 2Garden Pizza, the recipe in the book calls for asparagus and fresh basil. Oops, I forgot to pick up both at the store. As you can see, it was still SO delicious.

Ellen Jaffe Jones, the plant-based athlete and famed author of Eat Vegan on $4 a Day is back with Kitchen Divided: a book full of vegan dishes and sound advice for semi-vegan households. Her ideas and methods in the book will be a life-line for many, her approach is love: teaching tolerance within partnerships despite difference in diet choices. The recipes are simple to prepare, delicious and straightforward. They will be enjoyed all family members.

Good-as-Gold SoupGood-as-Gold Soup, I blended it to make it creamy and added a dollop of vegan sour cream.

While many of you know that I run a vegan household, you may not know that my husband is the type that “eats vegan at home” Meaning he’s gracious enough to support my diet choices and sees the benefit of a plant-based diet for health purposes, but he still occasionally eats animal products when we dine out. In the beginning, I thought I had “converted” him. So the first time he ordered steak at a restaurant when we were out on a date, I was baffled, angry and a little heartbroken.

Energy Rich Green SmoothiesI can’t get enough of these smoothies, they’ve become my go to breakfast for the last couple of weeks.

I could have taken that experience and allowed it to become a divide in our relationship. I could have fostered bitterness and carried a grudge. Instead, I respected his decision, just like he respects mine. I feel grateful that he allows me to run a kitchen were it’s 100% plant-based and that we don’t have to divide pantry or refrigerator shelves. Though I do recognize that a divided kitchen is a stark reality for many vegans. I’m one of the lucky ones.

Seeded MeusliFull of fiber, protein and nutrients. A beautiful way to start your day.

Ellen’s book was born out of circumstances similar to mine.  Her husband eats steak and takes statin medications, yet, they share so many other profound connections that food isn’t something worth arguing over. She states “Some vegans choose to break off a relationship when their diet becomes incompatible with their partner’s. In many instances though, there are compelling emotional, personal and financial reasons to mend rather than end the relationship.”

Stealth Egg SaladStealth Egg Salad, featured here as an open faced sandwich.

She took this idea to her readers and found that many lived in “Kitchen Divided” households. I would compare it to having a difference in religion, race or political backgrounds with your partner. There are definitely going to be disagreements over points of view, however, that doesn’t mean there can’t be harmony in the home.

Naturally Sweet SlawDates instead of sugar give this slaw it’s sweet taste.

Ellen offers this advice: “Developing acceptance is the task I’ve set before you. Instead of asking your partner to change, see how you can bridge your differences and make life in the kitchen easier, calmer, and more pleasant for the both of you. Incredible things can happen when joyfulness, tolerance and great food joins forces.”

I think Ellen Jaffe Jones would make an amazing Marriage and Family Counselor. 🙂  This book would benefit anyone with a divided kitchen or anyone with extended family that isn’t vegan (which means almost all of us).

Date and Nut Cake

Date and Nut Cake, this amazing “snack cake” has no added sugars or oil

Now for this homely cake. It doesn’t look like much, but after one taste, I think it may quickly become a family favorite in your home as it has in mine.

Date and Nut Cake

This cake is simplicity incarnate. One of the joys of vegan cooking is how unfussy recipes can be, as this scrumptious cake attests. (recipe used with permission)

  • 1 1/4 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped soft dates, preferably medjool
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or mist it with cooking spray.

Put the flour and the baking soda in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the dates and walnuts and stir until evenly distributed.

Stir the vanilla extract into the water. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until well combined. Spread the mixture evenly in the lined pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Testers note: Since my medjool dates were too sticky to chop small, I processed my dates with the flour until they were in small bits then proceeded with the recipe. I also baked my cake in an 8 inch round instead of a square baking pan. GF peeps, I made a second cake with this gluten-free flour blend and a flax egg (1 T. ground flax + 3 T. water mixed and allowed to gel for a few minutes). It was every bit as delicious as the first cake and didn’t crumble like many GF cakes do.

Date and Nut close up

Kitchen Divided_COVER_CMYK

Buy Kitchen Divided here.

Buy it on the Publisher’s Site, Book Pulishing Companyhere, or the authors site, VegCoach, here.

For a chance to win a copy of this amazing cookbook, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA and Canada onlyYou must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Friday the 16th of August to enter!  I will notify the winner by email on Monday the 19th of August. GO!!

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Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Could Save Your Life. A Candid Interview with Dr. Pamela Popper, a Delicious Salad Recipe, Review and Giveaway

Big Green Salad

Food Over Medicine is a book made up entirely of a conversation between Dr. Pamela A. Popper, PhD, ND (Executive Director of The Wellness Forum) and Glen Merzer (Co-Author of Mad Cowboy, No More Bull, Unprocessed and Better Than Vegan) about how the food we eat may be the biggest way we can impact our health in a positive way. It reads easily and is thoroughly engaging from start to finish. The subtitle of the book “The Conversation That Could Save Your Life” is as serious as a heart attack. If you have health issues, I’m pleading with you to read this book. I was moved and touched deeply, it never fails to amaze me that people can completely change their health simply by changing what they put into their mouths. So many of Pam’s patients have had health recoveries similar or more profound than my own.

One of her biggest success stories, is that of Chef Del Sroufe, who was 475 pounds and a very unhealthy vegan when they first met. He’s now lost more than 225 pounds, is the author of  “Forks Over Knives- The Cookbook” and “Better Than Vegan.” He is a partner in The Wellness Forum and is also the Executive Chef on staff at the facility. This book includes 25 of his delicious recipes. I’ve photographed some of them for you to view here.

pamela popper

Now for the best bit: Pamela Popper agreed to an interview for this post. Listen up, it’s good stuff.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Somer McCowan: So, I’ve had my Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ulcerative Colitis) in remission since I adopted a plant based diet over 18 months ago. However, I feel like it’s dormant, like a bear in hibernation and that if I were to re-introduce animal foods into my diet, that the disease would reappear in full force. Why do animal foods trigger auto-immune diseases like mine?

Dr. Pamela Popper: You are correct – your condition is in remission and it will remain so as long as you are compliant on the right diet.  However, it is not necessary to adhere to a vegan diet in order to keep it in remission. In fact, our protocol for stopping the progression of IBD and reversing it allows people to consume organic animal foods or wild-caught fish 2-3 times per week*, and it works for those who are compliant.  The important issues are absolutely no dairy, no high gluten foods (barley, rye, oats, wheat), very low fat, low sugar, and to be mindful of foods that seem to trigger gassiness and diarrhea, which vary from person to person and sometimes are more related to portion size rather than food type. For example, an IBD patient may find that more than ½ cup of beans in one serving causes issues; those of us without IBD don’t have to worry about this.

Animal foods are only part of the cause of autoimmune diseases, including IBD.  People who develop autoimmune diseases are genetically predisposed, diet contributes, and there is usually a “precipitating event”, which can include vaccinations, infections, viruses, allergies, asthma, hormonal changes, including pregnancy, or long periods of sustained stress.  Women are much more likely to develop most autoimmune diseases than men.

(Important Note: Both Dr. Pamela Popper and Glen Merzer follow a strictly plant based diet themselves, meaning, neither of them consume animal products of any kind.)

BBQ Tofu

Somer McCowan: What other health conditions/diseases can be reversed or “put into remission” through plant based eating?

Dr. Pamela Popper: Any condition that is chronic or degenerative can be stopped or reversed for most people with a well-structured plant-based diet.  The exception is sometimes cancer, in which the results vary a lot based on the type of cancer, stage, age of the person, co-morbidity, and other factors.

Even conditions that are not chronic and degenerative can be made better with better diet. For example, an injured person (car or skiing accident, for example) will heal faster while eating a plant-based diet than someone who consumes a diet rich in fat, animal protein and junk foods.

Somer McCowan: Do your clients ever say to you: “It’s too hard to be on a low-fat, whole foods/plant-based diet” i.e.: that they would prefer to live their previous lifestyle while staying sick and continuing to take prescription medications?

Dr. Pamela Popper: Our clients who think that this is hard are not following our directions; we make conversion to this diet very easy, helping people to avoid trial and error and preventing them from making mistakes like the ones I made when I made the conversion on my own many years ago.

However, there are two types of people we cannot help.  We can’t do much for people who just won’t listen – they trust Western medicine and do not believe that diet is part of their problem.  And we cannot help people who do not want to get well and there are some.  There are many reasons, including the fact that some people are so used to being sick that they don’t know how not to be sick, or illness is the way they get attention.  The right type of therapy can help these people to want to get better, and to get over the fear of getting better.

Fruit Crisp

Somer McCowan: Why do you think traditional Doctors tell their patients that diet has nothing to do with disease?

Dr. Pamela Popper: It is so unfortunate, but doctors are not given much education about nutrition in medical school – most of the time only a few classroom hours.  They are not told that diet is a major contributing factor to developing degenerative diseases, or that diet can cure them.  Furthermore, they are not taught to cure anyone using other means either.  Medical training consists of teaching docs how to mitigate symptoms with drugs and procedures, and how to use diagnostic tests, most of which are useless and harmful, to detect disease at earlier stages.

Somer McCowan: How quickly can people expect to see improved health once they commit and fully make the switch to a low-fat, whole foods plant-based diet?

Dr. Pamela Popper: Improvement begins almost immediately.  Overweight people who are compliant will lose 2-3 pounds per week until they reach their ideal weight; and the changes in health status take place so quickly for type 2 diabetics and hypertensive patients that they have to be monitored carefully since their medication needs drop really quickly.  It can take some time to completely resolve some issues, and some people have developed health issues as a result of taking medications for their diseases that have to be addressed, but the progress is quick enough that they are encouraged to stick with the diet.

Somer McCowan: What would you say to those who are hesitant to change their diet plan, but are living with some form of disease or illness?

Dr. Pamela Popper: Try it! If you decide after a few weeks or months that you miss being a diabetic you can always eat your way back into your prior condition!

Lentil Cakes

Somer McCowan: Can you explain the difference between a vegan diet and a low fat, whole foods plant based diet?

Dr. Pamela Popper: A vegan diet means absolutely no animal foods, and the interpretation of this diet for some even excludes honey.  It’s important to note that simply adopting a vegan diet does not mean that one is eating a health-promoting diet.  There are lots of people who don’t eat animal foods but eat a lot of vegan junk food, highly processed foods, and fat.  Most of these people are not much better off from a health perspective than the meat eaters.

A whole foods plant-based diet may or may not be vegan, but focuses on eating whole foods and some minimally processed foods.  It is low in fat, high in fiber, and the primary food groups are fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Somer McCowan: What do you eat in the course of a normal day?

Dr. Pamela Popper: One of the things I love about this diet is that I can eat whatever I want and not worry about portion control or calorie counting.  I’m really active, so I eat a lot of food.  So I’ll tell you what I had today:

Breakfast – 2 pieces of Ezekial bread toast with fat free hummus and my breakfast smoothie** (plant milk, Wellness Forum smoothie mix, brewer’s yeast, ground flax, food-grade green tea, a banana and frozen berries)

Lunch – mixed greens with Southwest pasta salad (whole wheat pasta with black beans, red peppers, cilantro, corn, tomatoes, and creamy tofu dressing)

Mid-afternoon – blackberries and apples

Dinner – BIG salad with lots of veggies and rice and steamed veggies (all given to me by friends with gardens – YUM!!)

I have a sweet tooth that flares at night and it’s about that time now so after I sign off I’m going to have some fresh peaches which I bought from a farmer last weekend.  LOVE this way of eating!

Sweet Mustard Dressing

Chef Del’s Big Green Salad with Sweet and Spicy Mustard Dressing

Recipe used with permission. -Serves 4

For the Salad:

  • 8 ounces mixed greens
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup red cabbage, grated
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • Sweet and Spicy Mustard Dressing, recipe follows

Divide the mixed greens between four dinner plates. Arrange the remaining ingredients on top of the greens and serve with Sweet and Spicy Mustard Dressing on the side.

For the Dressing:

  • 1 package silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup prepared mustard
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth and creamy.

My husband and I can’t get enough of this tasty salad or the incredible dressing, I want to put it on everything!


Buy Food Over Medicine here. Get the Kindle Edition for just $3.99 here.

Buy it on the Publisher’s Site, BenBella Books here

For a chance to win a copy of this amazing cookbook, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA and Canada onlyYou must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Friday the 9th of August to enter!  I will notify the winner by email on Monday the 12th of August. GO!!

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* excerpt from Food Over Medicine “we will help more people convert to a healthy diet if we espouse a more moderate message, if we don’t scare away people by insisting they abstain from animal foods entirely.

**Dr. Pamela Popper agreed to share her breakfast smoothie recipe with me, you can find it here. For those wishing to order ingredients from The Wellness Forum to make this smoothie, please call 614 841-7700.